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CONCEPT CARS
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_car

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Dymaxion car

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
Dymaxion 3
Dymaxion 3

The Dymaxion car was a concept car from 1933, designed by American inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller. The word Dymaxion is a brand name that Fuller gave to several of his inventions, to emphasize that he considered them part of a more far-reaching project to improve humanity's living conditions. The car had a fuel efficiency of 30 miles per US gallon (7.8 L/100 km), which was unheard of in the United States at the time. It could transport eleven passengers at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour (193 km/h).

The car was a three wheeler, steered by a single rear wheel, and could do a U-turn in its own length. However, the rear-wheel steering made the car somewhat counterintuitive to operate, especially in crosswind situations. The body was teardrop-shaped, and naturally aerodynamically efficient. The car was twice as long as a conventional automobile, at 20 feet (6 metres) long.[citation needed] Drive power was provided by a rear-mounted Ford V8 engine, which produced 85 bhp through the front wheels. The front axle was also a Ford component, being the rear axle of a contemporary Ford roadster turned upside-down.

An accident at the 1933 Chicago world's fair badly damaged the first prototype, killing the driver, and seriously injuring the two passengers. The Dymaxion had rolled over, and although the driver was wearing a seatbelt, the prototype's canvas roof had not offered sufficient crash protection. The cause of the accident was not determined, although Buckminster Fuller reported that the accident was due to the actions of another vehicle that had been closely following the Dymaxion. [1] The crash prompted investors to abandon the project, blaming the accident on deficiencies in the vehicle's steering.

In his 1988 book The Age of Heretics, author Art Kleiner maintained that the real reason why Chrysler refused to produce the car was because bankers had threatened to recall their loans, feeling that the car would destroy sales for vehicles already in the distribution channels and second-hand cars.

Volkswagen T1c "micro-bus"
Volkswagen T1c "micro-bus"

Although the Dymaxion cars did not enter production, it was influential on several subsequent designs. Ben Pon's VW Transporter van of the late 1940s resembled the Dymaxion, being a multi-seat mini-van with an aerodynamic body. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion concept of obtaining optimal efficiency by aerodynamic design, and employing the most advantageous materials continues to inspire design such as the Aptera hybrid car prototype, which, like the Dymaxion, is a three wheeled, ultra light, aerodynamic, fuel efficient vehicle design.

Of the three prototype cars built, only the second prototype survives, located in the Harrah Collection of the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. The exterior has been fully restored, though it is a hollow shell, as they had no idea what the Dymaxion's interior was like.

External links

  • WNET article
  • Dymaxion Passengers: Towards a cultural history of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car
  • National Auto Museum
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_car"